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Laser-wakefield accelerators for high-resolution X-ray imaging of complex microstructures

Hussein, A. E.; Senabulya, N.; Ma, Y.; Streeter, M. J. V.; Kettle, B.; Dann, S. J. D.; Albert, F.; Bourgeois, N.; Cipiccia, S.; Finlay, O.; Gerstmayr, E.; Gallardo Gonzales, I.; Higginbotham, A.; Jaroszynski, D. A.; Falk, K.ORC; Krushelnick, K.; Lemos, N.; Lopes, N. C.; Lumsdon, C.; Lundh, O.; Mangles, S. P. D.; Najmudin, Z.; Rajeev, P. P.; Schlepütz, C. M.; Shahzad, M.; Smid, M.ORC; Spesyvtsev, R.; Symes, D. R.; Vieux, G.; Willingale, L.; Wood, J. C.; Shahani, A. J.; Thomas, A. G. R.
Laser-wakefield accelerators (LWFAs) are high acceleration-gradient plasma-based particle accelerators capable of producing ultra-relativistic electron beams. Within the strong focusing fields of the wakefield, accelerated electrons undergo betatron oscillations, emitting a bright pulse of X-rays with a micrometer-scale source size that may be used for imaging applications. Non-destructive X-ray phase contrast imaging and tomography of heterogeneous materials can provide insight into their processing, structure, and performance. To demonstrate the imaging capability of X-rays from an LWFA we have examined an irregular eutectic in the aluminum-silicon (Al-Si) system. The lamellar spacing of the Al-Si eutectic microstructure is on the order of a few micrometers, thus requiring high spatial resolution. We present comparisons between the sharpness and spatial resolution in phase contrast images of this eutectic alloy obtained via X-ray phase contrast imaging at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) synchrotron and X-ray projection microscopy via an LWFA source. An upper bound on the resolving power of 2.7 ± 0.3 μm of the LWFA source in this experiment was measured. These results indicate that betatron X-rays from laser wakefield acceleration can provide an alternative to conventional synchrotron sources for high resolution imaging of eutectics and, more broadly, complex microstructures.

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Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-30576
Publ.-Id: 30576